I’ve spent a lot of time hanging out alone or spacing out at work the last couple of weeks, so I get to daydreaming, and it’s mostly taken me down MEMORY LANEZZZ. I’ve also been going through old playlists, which I seldom do, because I base my playlists on particular emotional conditions. I know from a glance at a track list how I was feeling when I made HALOW33N B@BY or Funeral Songs, in Case I Die. I typically don’t want to revisit them, because they’re time capsules; indulging in them now feels like listening to Christmas music in September. But for some reason I’ve been listening to a playlist called Spring Break Home lately, which was curated for a trip to Seattle that I took in March, a few days after I was assaulted.

March was kind of insane: I spent two weeks straight in the studio at school during midterms. I said goodbye to the crush boy formerly known as Crush Boy. I got beat up on the street walking home from the bus. I flew home for three days during spring break to be with my mom and deal with everything. For a long time I hid how very, very hurt I was that the crush boy never said anything to me about the attack, but eventually I admitted it to my mom. I returned to San Francisco for three days of glorious partying at a music festival, and I felt like myself again. Spring break ended at the beginning of April, and life kept going.

The playlist consists of songs that defined that time for me. “Shattered” by the Stones reminded me that to live in Oakland, you must be tuff tuff tuff tuff tuff tuff, while “Just Like a Woman” reminded me to stay strong (I didn’t want to break like the girl Dylan sings about). King Tuff’s “Bad Thing” was released on the internet literally the morning after my attack, so it was like my power-pop life raft. As always, Neil, my favorite voice of all time since the beginning of time, brought me home with “Walk On,” so I could make it through those next few excursions, which were pretty difficult even in broad daylight.

Looking at the past seems pointlessly indulgent, and I am brought back to events that I’ve made an effort to emotionally detach from. But it’s halfway through 2012, and sometimes checkpoints like this aren’t totally trivial. This is a good year. This is one of those years that make me want to go to a grassy hilltop in a ball gown and spin around, looking toward the sky with arms outstretched, gaily proclaiming, “This is MY year, HUNNY!” which is what I imagine a weight-loss commercial in January might look like.

I think about a month like March, and I realize I’m stronger than I suspected. At the time, all of the stuff I was going through seemed routine, but as I look back I’m stunned by how absurd and challenging it all was. I refused to realize it then, because I thought it was better to deal than to dwell. But screw the idea of feeling indulgent. It feels good to use the past to remind me of my personal power, even if a lot of it comes from rock & roll songs. ♦